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Tue, 23 May 2017
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Cop who murdered Terence Crutcher found not guilty of manslaughter

© Facebook
Terence Crutcher
A white Tulsa police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year has been found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter, outraging protesters gathered outside the courthouse to demonstrate against police brutality.

Betty Shelby denied race was a factor when she shot Terence Crutcher and insisted her actions were driven entirely by the behavior of the man she shot.

Crutcher was killed on his way home from his night class at Tulsa Community College in September, after he pulled his SUV over because he was experiencing car trouble.

Shelby claimed she shot the 40-year-old father because she thought he was reaching for a gun, although police footage shows Crutcher had his hands in the air.

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Star of David

Israeli colonist murders Palestinian, injuries journalist during protest in support of jailed hunger strikers

© Reuters / Reuters
People react next the body of a Palestinian man near the West Bank city of Nablus May 18, 2017
A Palestinian was killed by an Israeli settler who shot at protesters who were throwing rocks at his car, the Health Ministry of the Palestinian Territories says. An AP photographer was also injured by the gunfire.

The shooting occurred south of the city of Nablus in the occupied Palestinian West Bank on Thursday. Hundreds of Palestinians protested near an Israeli military checkpoint at Huwara, when an Israeli settler in a car attempted to drive through the crowd. The protest was held in support of Palestinian prisoners of Israeli jails, who have been on hunger strike since April 17.

The Palestinians reportedly surrounded the car and damaged it with stones. The settler subsequently stepped out of his car and opened fire, along with Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint.

A Palestinian identified by the Health Ministry as 23-year-old Muataz Bani Shemsay, resident of a nearby village, died from a gunshot wound to the head. A photographer with Associated Press was injured by gunfire, AFP reports citing Palestinian medics.


Robot justice: Why using AI to sentence criminals is a dangerous idea

© Phonlamai Photo/Shutterstock
Artificial intelligence is already helping determine your future - whether it's your Netflix viewing preferences, your suitability for a mortgage or your compatibility with a prospective employer. But can we agree, at least for now, that having an AI determine your guilt or innocence in a court of law is a step too far?

Worryingly, it seems this may already be happening. When American Chief Justice John Roberts recently attended an event, he was asked whether he could forsee a day "when smart machines, driven with artificial intelligences, will assist with courtroom fact finding or, more controversially even, judicial decision making". He responded: "It's a day that's here and it's putting a significant strain on how the judiciary goes about doing things".

Roberts might have been referring to the recent case of Eric Loomis, who was sentenced to six years in prison at least in part by the recommendation of a private company's secret proprietary software. Loomis, who has a criminal history and was sentenced for having fled the police in a stolen car, now asserts that his right to due process was violated as neither he nor his representatives were able to scrutinise or challenge the algorithm behind the recommendation.


Syrians describe horror that CIA-created terrorists brought them

Supporters of the Syrian opposition have relentlessly demanded that Western observers listen to "Syrian voices." The idea is that by absorbing the testimonies of Syrians who have experienced the violence of the conflict first hand, Westerners will know how to best help them. Yet Western media consumers have scarcely heard from ordinary people who reside within the areas controlled by the government -- the areas where the vast majority of Syrians live. Indeed, the voices of Syrians like Areej, one of many people I spoke to inside Syria's government-held areas for this report, present a testimony that is simply too inconvenient for Western media to consider.

Areej was a university student in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2012 when the American-backed Free Syrian Army captured the eastern half of the city. She had participated in student protests against the Assad regime and was initially sympathetic to the armed insurgents. Nowadays, however, she regrets protesting at all and even blames herself for her country's descent into war.
"I was with the demonstrations," Areej told me when we met in Damascus. "At the beginning of the war it was for freedom. But if I could go back to four years ago, I would not have gone out to the demonstrations because I didn't want the situation to become like this. We regret it."

People 2

Fan's petition to revive rare conservative TV show Last Man Standing reaches 100,000 signatures

A fan's petition to ABC Television to revive the now-canceled blue-collar sitcomLast Man Standing has received more than 100,000 signatures in less than a week.

The Change.org petition titled "Save Tim Allen's Show 'Last Man Standing'" — launched by a fan calling himself "Deputy Matt" last week — had received 109,186 signatures as of late Tuesday morning.
"Last Man Standing stands out in the sea of network television sitcoms. It is a show that appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify; namely conservative values," the petition creator wrote.
"Last Man Standing is one of the only shows on broadcast television, and the only sitcom, that is not constantly shoving liberal ideals down the throats of the viewers," the petition adds. "And sadly, that is likely the real reason the show has been cancelled."


Four men arrested in London on suspicion of plotting terror attacks in UK

Four young men have been arrested in London on suspicion of plotting terrorist acts in the UK. The arrests came as a part of an ongoing investigation by the Metropolitan Police and the MI5 intelligence agency.

The men, aged between 18 and 27, were arrested at their homes in east London on Wednesday on suspicion of "the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

The identities of the suspects have not been disclosed. The four men remained in custody at a south London police station.


Head of Russian Orthodox Church appeals to Pope, UN to intervene in Kiev over religious discrimination laws

© Miroslav Rotar / Sputnik
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has appealed to a number of international religious and political leaders, asking them to not let Kiev enforce its recent initiative that might see Orthodox religious communities diminished in Ukraine.

The pieces of legislation, which the Ukrainian parliament is set to vote on Thursday, "threaten the constitutional rights of millions of Ukrainian believers, may cause a wave of violence and new seizures of churches, and escalate intercommunal conflict in Ukraine," the Patriarch warned, as cited by the Moscow Patriarchy press service.

If adopted, the bills might also "further complicate the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements" to solve the Ukrainian conflict, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church added, appealing to the leaders of the so-called Normandy Four group, which oversaw the peace plan.

Along with leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, the Patriarch also asked the UN Secretary General, the leader of the Catholic Church and President of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to intervene over the bills the Russian Orthodox Church considers "discriminatory."


Athens: Anti-austerity police protesters versus riot police

Tension between protesters from police, fire brigades and coast guard on one side and riot police on the other side broke out short after 8 o' clock in the evening on Wednesday when the angry protesters tried to break the police cordon and enter the Greek Parliament.

Riots policemen and protesters pushed and shouted at each other, with protesters shouting in addition "Disgrace! Disgrace!"

Arrow Up

Over 80 percent of Americans are 'concerned about declining moral behavior in our nation'

Could it be possible that Americans are more concerned about declining standards of morality than most of us initially thought? A very surprising new survey conducted by LifeWay Research has discovered that a whopping 81 percent of Americans agree with this statement: "I am concerned about declining moral behavior in our nation." If you follow my work on a regular basis, you already know that moral decay is a theme that I keep coming back to time after time. To me it is quite obvious that moral behavior is deteriorating all around us, but I had no idea that so many other Americans were deeply concerned about the exact same thing.

Since so many people agree that we are facing a moral crisis, the solution should be very simple right?

Unfortunately it is more complicated than that, because there is very little agreement about what our moral values should actually be. Once upon a time the Bible formed the basis for morality in American society, but today things are entirely different.


Filthy air pollution is killing Brits

© Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters
The number of deaths caused by air pollution in Britain is higher than that in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil, and double the rate in the United States, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the WHO's 2017 report, pollution caused 25.7 deaths per 100,000 people in Britain, the 15th worst rate in Europe and twice as high as Sweden, which topped the list of the cleanest countries in the world.

By comparison, pollution was responsible for 23.5 deaths in Mexico per 100,000, and 15.8 in Brazil and 24.6 in Argentina. In the US, the amount of deaths was half the amount at 12.1.